I’m back with part 2 of my interview with the incredible TV writing partners Liz Craft and Sarah Fain! If you missed the first part, be sure to check it out here. There is so much good stuff in today’s conversation, so I’m going to dive right in…
Let’s talk about The Fix! I read the pilot script last spring and I LOVED it — I’m so excited to see it (premiering March 18th on ABC, 10pm!) How has the process of shooting an entire first season of your own show been?
SARAH: It was pretty great, I have to say, as these things go — It’s always stressful and exhausting, problem solving non-stop…
SARAH: …but it really couldn’t have gone better, I would say.
LIZ: Yeah, we had a great team — great cast, great writing staff —
SARAH: — PHENOMENAL production team —
LIZ: — and we were REALLY lucky, because our vision was in alignment with the studio’s vision and the network’s vision. And if you have those three entities in line, it makes everything so much smoother. If any one of those three have a different vision, that’s when you can really hit so many obstacles – be they speed bumps or be they walls. We never hit something that stopped us in our tracks. We were able to keep moving forward. Which isn’t to say that it was smooth sailing because it never is, but we could keep moving forward. And then we had Marcia Clark, who was working full time on the show – not everyone realizes that. She didn’t just sort of lend her name or come up with the idea with us, she ran the show with us. Every minute we were there, she was there. And having that level of knowledge of the LA legal system and everything she brings —
SARAH: Well just she’s so smart.
LIZ: She’s SO smart.
SARAH: She’s really smart. **I seriously LOVE Sarah & Liz’s back and forth banter 🙂
LIZ: She really gave it a texture that we haven’t had on anything else we’ve worked on. So that was really great, and that made our job a lot easier. I mean, we had a built-in expert.
SARAH: It was so amazing. When the studio or network would say, “Would this happen? This doesn’t seem realistic” Marcia would say, “Let me tell you…” It really helps to have that expert right there on the call all the time.
LIZ: And although it’s a totally fictional story, it’s based on her emotional truth, on the experience that she went through. Which gave it an authenticity that I think everybody responded to.
**Note: Marcia Clark was the lead prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson case.
So what is this downtime like? As we’re talking, your premiere date is still a month and a half away, so what are you spending this time doing? Are you working on other projects that you’re hoping to bring to fruition? Are you working on what the second season of The Fix would look like?
SARAH: It hasn’t really felt like downtime, has it?
LIZ: No, not yet.
SARAH: We keep hoping it will.
LIZ: We’ll go in April or May and pitch Season 2 to the network with Marcia, so that is our primary concern. And then, yeah, we’re also percolating for development season because of course we don’t know what will happen so we have to be ready to pitch anything at a moment’s notice. And whatever we can do to promote the show, of course.
SARAH: Right. That’s the other big thing; TCAs are at the beginning of February. Anything we can do to promote the show, we will do it.
So assuming that The Fix continues for several season, will you then pitch other things simultaneously? And what would happen if you had multiple shows, potentially at different networks – what would that look like day to day?
SARAH: I think when you have a show, you’re always sort of grooming the people who do it to eventually be able to do it themselves. On The Fix I think it would be hard, I think we would always have a very close hand on it, should there be more seasons. We would be very connected to it.
LIZ: Usually when someone has more than one show, the writing staffs are in the same building, so in theory whenever we were, both shows would be there – at least the writing, if not production as well.
Wow, so you could literally walk to the other writer’s room.
SARAH: Yes. And editing, as well. And if we had another show we would have someone who was the official showrunner of that show. Let’s say we had 4 shows.
LIZ: I like that!
SARAH: All of those shows would have a showrunner, and we would be overseeing all of it. It’s like hiring a writing staff, but the showrunner would be the most important person you’re hiring.
It would be CraftFainLand (ala Shondaland).
LIZ: Yes, I like that. That’s what we’re going for.
**Explode is Sarah and Liz’s word for 2019 – you can hear more about this in episode 84 of Happier in Hollywood.
Have either of you considered doing something else in the industry besides TV writing? Have you ever thought about directing one of the episodes you write, or acting, or…?”
LIZ: I mean, I personally have no interest in directing and no ability to act. Nobody is going to be asking for a cameo from me. What about you?
SARAH: I have no interest in acting at all….
LIZ: I could see you directing. If this show went 100 episodes, I couldn’t imagine you wouldn’t end up directing — you have a director’s personality.
SARAH: I might. But I don’t see it as the goal of all of this, to someday direct. But it could be fun to learn what it’s like.
LIZ: You would just do it for fun, for a new experience. There is NOTHING that would make me direct.
I’ve been noticing a lot of actors who, once they’ve been on a show for several seasons, then begin to direct episodes of that show. At that point, you understand the show so well.
LIZ: Yeah, which makes sense. It’s very safe. You know everyone is working with you to succeed.
Once again, many thanks to Sarah and Liz for being so generous with their time and insights! Part 3 of this interview will be released next week, where they share their thoughts on the #MeToo movement and advice for writers trying to break in, so don’t miss it…and remember to check out The Fix on ABC!